VacSeen: A Linked Data-Based Information Architecture to Track Vaccines Using Barcode Scan Authentication

Abstract

Renewed global efforts to deploy Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) technologies, such as barcodes, on vaccine packaging in developing countries are currently underway. An opportunity to evaluate Linked Data technologies for generating an ecosystem of data connectedness and interoperability in the vaccine supply chain presents itself. We discuss the VacSeen project, a Linked Data-based information system to track vaccines through visualization and authentication of barcode scans on vaccine packaging using mobile phones. The project is aimed at enabling endeavors such as logistical planning and integration with health information systems, demand forecasting, anticounterfeiting and diversion measures, and post-marketing surveillance by pharmaceutical companies, supply chain contractors, and public health agencies. By forming an abstraction layer over siloed data while necessitating minimal modification of existing architecture, VacSeen can help minimize the technical, operational, and political friction often associated with fostering data interoperability. We discuss VacSeen’s software architecture and present sample data analytics that highlight VacSeen’s ability to facilitate the interoperability of diverse and non-standardized data sources. Limitations of the current framework and areas of future exploration and expansion are also discussed.

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